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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:

Compass plant, Dew of the sea, Incensier, Mary’s mantle

Latin Name: Rosmarinusofficinalis

Plant Family: Lamiaceae

Close Relatives: Lavender, savory, basil, mint, oregano, sage

Uses and Markets: Culinary (e.g. garnish, oils); Medicinal (e.g. stimulant and various other effects);Ornamental

Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes


Propagation method

Most commonly by transplants from cuttings or seeds; can be grown in a greenhouse for the potted herb market.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates

January to March (earlier if grown from seed).

Field Seeding Date:


Field Transplanting Dates

Late May/early June.

In-row spacing

30-50 cm

Between row spacing

70-100 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Research from India shows an optimal nitrogen rate of 150 kg/ha at planting.  Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well-drained soil.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit


Optimal Temperature Range


Temperature sensitivity

Frost sensitive.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation usually not required (wet soil inhibits growth).

Days to harvest

Approx. 100 days from transplanting.

Specialized equipment:


Harvest Scheduling

Multiple harvests from the same planting.

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades.

Additional Harvest Notes

Rosemary grown as a fresh herb is usually harvested as 20-25 cm long stems either bundled or packaged in plastic clam-shells. Leaves are removed from the stem after drying for dried herb production. Harvest during cooler parts of the day to reduce moisture loss and cooling costs. Remove field heat as soon as possible after harvest.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing

Dry at <40°C

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH):>95%

Temperature: 0°C

Duration: 2-3 weeks

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: None

Diseases: None

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Rosemary beetle*, spider mites, white flies, mealybugs, aphids

Diseases: Powdery mildew, fungal leaf blights (e.g. Alternaria, Botrytis), bacterial leaf spot (e.g. Pseudomonas), Rhizoctonia

*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: none. Disease pressures can be reduced through proper site selection and by promoting good air movement through the canopy.  There are few to no pest control products registered on this crop in Ontario. This crop is in Crop Group 19: Herbs and Spices Group and subgroup 19A: Herb Subgroup. This crop group is being revised and may change in the near future. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFand MRA specialist. For pest control products registered on this crop refer to OMAFRA Publication 838.

Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. McKeown, A.W., C.J. Bakker and J. Schooley. 1998-2002. Herb DemonstrationGarden, University of Guelph Simcoe Research Station, unpublished.
  2. Westerveld, S., Elford, E., Filotas, M. and J. Todd. 2010-present. OMAFRA herb demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  1. Baker, S. 2009. The complete illustrated book of herbs. The Readers Digest Association Inc. Pleasantville, New York. 2009/
  2. Cantwell, M. and M. Reid. 2001. Herbs (fresh culinary): recommendations for maintaining postharvest quality. University of California Davis
  3. Puttanna, K., Rao, E., R. Singh and S. Ramesh. 2010. Influence of nitrogen and potassium fertilization on yield and quality of rosemary in relation to harvest number. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 41: 202-210.
  4. Schooley, J. and J. Llewellyn. 2009. Growing culinary herbs in Ontario. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs .
  5. Small, E. 2006. Culinary herbs, 2nd Edition. NRC Research Press, Ottawa.
  6. Thomas S. C. L. 2000. Medical plants: culture utilization and photopharmacology. Technomic Publishing Company Inc. Lancaster, Pennsylvania.